Support services

How court staff can help you

Court staff are available to help you with your court matter. Check the lists below to find out how they can and can't help you.

This document - Legal Information - also tells you what legal information court staff can or can't provide you with.

Court staff can

  • explain and answer questions about how the court works.
  • give you a list of lawyers or contact details of Legal Aid and the Law Society of Tasmania.
  • give you general information about Court rules, procedures and practices.
  • give you court schedules and information on how to get a case listed.
  • give you information from your court file.
  • give you samples of the court’s forms.
  • check your court papers to make sure they are complete, with the required signatures and supporting documents, correct case numbers, correct court location.
  • usually answer questions about court deadlines and how to work them out.
  • help you feel safe at court by contacting court security.

Court staff can not

  • change an order made/signed by a Magistrate.
  • give you legal advice.
  • tell you whether or not you can or should bring your case to court.
  • talk to the Magistrate for you.
  • tell you what words to use in your court documents.
  • tell you what to say in court.
  • give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
  • explain to you why a Magistrate has made a certain decision.

If you need assistance

Court staff can provide information or assistance if you have a disability or particular support needs.

You can find registry contact details on the Contact page.  You will also find a list of facilities available in each building on this page, or you can contact the Registry where you are due to appear to find out about disability supports in the building.

If can be useful for our staff to know that you have particular support needs.  You can show your National Assistance Card to security or registry staff if you need to let them know about a disability support need.

You can also get support or assistance from the advocacy organisations.  You can find a list of these organisations on the Getting support from an advocate page.

Victims

Going to court can be a daunting and stressful experience, however, you should not be afraid to go to court. Support and information is available to help you throughout the legal process.

Assistance for victims

  • Have you been the victim of a violent crime?
  • Has a loved one been the victim of a violent crime?
  • Are you feeling alone or confused about where to go from here?
  • Would you simply like more information about court, legal proceedings or victims rights?
  • For peace of mind, would you like to know sentence details relating to the offender?

Victims Support Service

Victims Support Services can provide information to victims of crime about current court matters, including:

  • the date that the matter is listed in court
  • the current status of the matter
  • whether the offender has been remanded in custody or released on bail
  • details of any conditions of such bail.

Please contact Victims Support Services.

Victims of Crime Service

The Victims of Crime Service can:

  • organise one of their counsellors to go to court with you
  • provide free counselling and support
  • prepare you for testifying in court

Tasmania Police

As the victim of crime, Tasmania Police are responsible for keeping you informed about the status of a matter before the court.

Your personal information is gathered by police when investigating an incident. Tasmania Police hold all victim information such as name, address and contact details.

Police Prosecution will be able to give you the following information:

  • when the matter is listed before the court
  • whether the accused person has pleaded guilty or not guilty
  • whether you are required to attend court to give evidence
  • what the outcome of the matter is, once finalised before the court.

Once the matter is finalised by the courts and if the offender has been given a custodial sentence, you'll be invited to register on the Victims Register. This can give you updates of a prisoner's location, classification, parole and hearing dates, and possible release times.

For help with family violence matters please contact Court Support and Liaison Service.

Legal advice

If you are looking for a private lawyer or law firm, details of all lawyers registered in Tasmania can be found here:

There are a number of Community Legal Centres in Tasmania that can provide free advice or legal assistance.

Victim Support Services also provides advice to victims of crime.

Other groups

These organisations do not provide legal advice but may be helpful.

You can also talk to an advocate to help you in court.  See the section on Getting support from an advocate.

Getting support from an advocate

There are community organisations in Tasmania that can support to you if you need to go to court.

They are not lawyers, but can support you when going through a court process and can advocate on your behalf.

They can help if you are unable to speak for yourself, or find it difficult to speak in some situations.

Advocacy Tasmania provides support and advocacy services to older people, people living with a disability, people with mental health issues and people who use alcohol or drugs.

Speak Out Advocacy supports people with disability and provides individual advocacy.

The Association for Children with Disability (Tas), also known as ACD Tas, provides information, advocacy and support for children and young people with disabilities and their families.

Interpreters

If you have difficulty understanding or speaking English, the court can provide an interpreter for you. If you need an interpreter, please contact the Registry prior to the date of your court hearing.

The court will cover the cost of the interpreter. This is in accordance with the Government's policy for Tasmania's Culturally Diverse Society.

Usually the court will request that an interpreter attend in the courtroom, but if an interpreter is not available in person, they may attend via speaker phone.

Help for people with hearing or speech impairments

Hearing loops are available in court buildings.  Ask security about access the hearing loop when you arrive at court.

The services listed below can only be used to discuss matters with court staff — they cannot be used for hearings in court.

Speak and Listen users

Phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 13 55 13

TTY users

Phone 133 677, then ask for 1300 13 55 13

National Relay Service

Internet relay users connect to the National Relay Service (NRS) website then ask for 1300 13 55 13

A Justice of the Peace (or JP)  can sign Affidavits and/or Statutory Declarations.

To find a JP near you call 1300 135 513 or go to https://www.justice.tas.gov.au/justice-of-the-peace/find

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, JPs located at court buildings are currently only available only for signing of documents related to court matters. Check information about your local court in our Contact us section.

Law libraries

These libraries open to members of the public, the Law Society of Tasmania, the Department of Justice, the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court:

  • The Andrew Inglis Clark Law Library in Hobart
  • The Launceston Law Library
  • The North West Law Library in Burnie.

You can access these libraries at the Andrew Inglis Clark Law Library page.

The Department of Justice retains a working collection for Crown Law and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Courts also have their own collections for judges, magistrates and court staff to use. These collections are not open to the public, but you may arrange for material in these libraries to be borrowed and used in the Andrew Inglis Clark Law Library.

Wi-Fi is available in all Magistrate Court Registries

Did you know that all Magistrate Court Registries now have Wi-Fi available for business purposes?

The Wi-Fi connection service is designed to provide Wi-Fi access for government employees to their corporate network and provide for a range of Guest accesses options for some clients. This service is available anywhere a customer has a local WiFi network already in place.

The Wi-Fi works as an extension of the wired network. If you are a government employee and require permission to use the whole of government network, contact your IT Administrator or Service Desk to arrange access. If you are not a government employee and require access, please speak to registry staff who can set you up as a guest user on a temporary account for up to 30 days.

The view at the Magistrates Court from the distance.